how i cried anyway

how i cried anyway

my father and i do not look alike
at first glance, but

we have the same scar on our chins
from falling off our bikes and

leaving a bit of ourselves behind,
red bifurcating again and again in the cement,

so strange to imagine how our skin
closed hastily, unevenly

(easing pain is not the same
as making smooth again). 

later, meteors dragged their pale fingers
across my thighs,

so strange how scars can also
come from the presence of something,

and how i cried anyway,
imagining acid etched down my face,

sometimes falling asleep with 
my palms pressed to my ribs,

something subliminal welling up—bitter—
in a dream,

and how i woke up spitting onto my pillow.

Monique Jonath is 18 years old and lives in Oakland, California, where she was born and raised by her Jewish Californian father and Congolese mother. She has been a ballet and modern dancer her whole life and started writing poetry in her freshman year of high school. She was a finalist for the title of Oakland Youth Poet Laureate in both 2018 and 2019. Since then, she has taken a poetry writing seminar, hosted virtual poetry readings, and her work has been featured in the YouthSpeaks Anthology, Between My Body and the Air (2020). This fall, she started her first year of college at Brown University, where she hopes to major in Psychology and take creative writing courses. 

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